(KMSP) - Tuesday marked eight years since Sergeant Joe Bergeron was ambushed and killed, shocking the community in Maplewood, Minnesota.
Ask any police officer in Maplewood and they'll tell you that while May 1 is a somber day for their department, Sergeant Bergeron's legacy lives on every day in their community.
"I go by there everyday, and I’m always saying prayers. There isn’t a day when I have forgotten that incident," Bill Langevin said.
It was during his daily run that Bill Langevin found himself witness to a murder.
“I was looking for a radio and I couldn’t find one because there was blood all over the place, and eventually I found one that was on his shirt and I called in a description of what happened,” Langevin said. "I said, ‘I’m a runner. A police officer been shot.’"
Sergeant Joe Bergeron’s end of watch came on May 1, 2010, when he approached two car-jacking suspects on a pedestrian path near Lake Phalen.
Witnesses say he didn't even have time to undo his seat belt when the suspects shot him. While one of the suspects was killed by police, the other is serving a 35-year sentence.
"Many of the officers we have today did not know Joe. Many of them were kids and as a result, this is an opportunity for us as a city, as a department, to let that legacy live on," said Maplewood Police Commander Michael Shortreed.
The legacy is carried on by his niece, Ashley Bergeron.
"Working at this department has really kept Joe’s memory alive for me. I’ve met many people who see my last name on my shirt and their eyes instantly light up. There are so many people who knew him and have so many positive stories to tell," Ashley Bergeron said.
Meanwhile, others remain strangers forever impacted by that day.
"I was the last person he ever saw. We both smiled at each other. It was his last really good memory and my last memory of a guy who died a hero," Langevin said.